Have you ever called your dog's name only to be met with a blank stare or no response at all?  Don't take it personally – dogs don't ignore their owners because they're giving them the cold  shoulder. It's more likely that their focus is elsewhere, or they haven't learned the value of  paying attention yet.  

This blog post will help you understand more about the most important thing there is to know as  a dog owner—your dog's perspective. We’ll also show you how you can create a more  engaged relationship by exploring the importance of your attitude and excitement levels during  training. Moreover, we will cover practical tips, actionable steps, and recommendations that will  guide you in achieving the desired outcome of a more responsive and attentive dog. 

The Importance of the Owner's Attitude and Excitement  Levels 

Newsflash: Your excitement affects your dog's enjoyment of training and listening! If you had to choose between a high-energy party and a snooze-worthy lecture, which would you pick? Your dog feels the same way! Research shows that dogs are like furry little mirrors, reflecting your  enthusiasm during training.  

Dogs do things because they find them valuable, not just "because they should." If your dog  sees you excited and engaged, they'll be more motivated to pay attention and follow your lead.  So, channel your inner cheerleader and create value for your dog during training sessions.  

They love treats, but they also love praise and attention. Use a happy voice, clap your hands, or  give them some extra pets when they do something well. These rewards will keep your pup's  ears perked and focused on the task at hand. 

Understanding Your Dog's Perspective 

To create a more engaged relationship with your dog, find out what works for them and  motivates them. Just like people, dogs have individual preferences and needs. Take the time to  figure out what makes your dog tick and use that knowledge to make training more enjoyable.  Observe your dog's behavior and reactions during training sessions, paying close attention to  which rewards keep them most engaged. 

When your dog listens to you, reward them with their favorite treats, praise, or playtime. This will  help them associate paying attention to you with positive experiences. Additionally, be  consistent in your reward system. If you only reward your dog sporadically, they may become  confused about what is expected and struggle to maintain focus. 

Practicing "Come When Called"

One of the most important commands to teach your dog is to come when called. It is handy for  day-to-day life and can be a lifesaver in potentially dangerous situations. To effectively teach  this command, start by calling your dog's name in a fun, excited tone. When they come to you,  reward them with a treat or praise. Be patient during this process, as some dogs may require  more time and repetition to master the command. 

It also helps to practice in various environments, such as indoors, outdoors, or in a park. Doing  so will help your dog generalize and respond to the command in different situations. 

Once again, this should be something that your dog enjoys. If you've seen other dogs come  when called, you'll notice that they basically sprint toward their owners. That's the kind of  enthusiasm and excitement you want to be aiming for with your own pup! 

Gradually Increasing Difficulty 

As your dog becomes more proficient at coming when called, increase the difficulty of the  command. For example, practice calling them while they're in the middle of playing or sniffing  around. Remember to set realistic expectations and not expect your dog to master this skill  overnight. Consistency, patience, and repetition are key to helping your dog succeed. 

Always reward your dog for its progress, even if it's not perfect. This will help them understand  that they're on the right track and keep them motivated to continue improving. Celebrate small  victories, such as your dog coming when called despite a minor distraction. 

Practicing with Other Dogs Nearby 

Speaking of distractions, other dogs might be the single most significant distraction for your dog.  They can get get overwhelmed with emotion, making it difficult to focus on you.  

The best way to help your dog overcome this challenge is to practice with a friend's on-lead dog nearby. Make sure that both dogs are comfortable in each other's presence before beginning  training to avoid any unnecessary stress or tension. 

Start with the other dog 15 feet away and practice simple commands like "sit" or "down”. Gradually increase the difficulty by getting closer to the other dog and asking for more complex  tricks. You can also get the other dog to start moving around or playing to add another level of  complexity. 

Remember to be patient and understanding. And maybe throw in a few belly rubs for good  measure.  

Training Techniques for Social Distractions

When training in the presence of other dogs, use high-value treats or rewards that your dog  doesn't usually get. These will help your dog stay focused on you instead of the other dog.  Some examples of high-value treats include small pieces of cooked chicken or cheese, which  are both enticing and easy to consume quickly during training sessions. 

Early socialization and training is the best way to prepare your dog for meeting other dogs.  Ideally, socialization should start when your dog is between 3 and 14 weeks old and continue  throughout their life. Otherwise, they might fight stronger emotions like fear and aggression  when encountering other dogs. 

The Power of Positive Reinforcement 

That brings us to our next point: Positive reinforcement. Every time your dog listens to you,  reward it with treats, praise, or playtime. Reinforce the idea that paying attention is a positive  and enjoyable experience. It's like giving them a high-five for being awesome listeners! 

On the flip side, avoid scolding or punishing your dog for not paying attention, as this can  negatively affect training. Instead, focus on rewarding them when they do listen and redirecting  their attention when they become distracted. It's all about keeping things positive and fun! 

For example, if your dog fixates on a squirrel during a walk, gently guide them back to your side  and reward them when they refocus on you. Or, if they're having trouble paying attention during  a training session, break it up into short bursts of focus and reward them after each task is  completed. 

Use Visual Signals in Training 

Dogs don't communicate the same way we do, but that doesn't mean they can't understand us.  In fact, dogs are very effective at picking up on visual cues, so incorporating that into your  training can make it easier for them to understand what you want from them. 

When teaching the "sit" command, you can use a hand signal, such as raising your palm  upwards, alongside the verbal command. This multi-modal approach to communication caters to  your dog's natural ability to read body language and can help bridge any gaps in understanding. 

Visual signals can be especially helpful in noisy or distracting environments when your dog may  struggle to hear your verbal commands. Additionally, using visual signals can help strengthen  your bond with your dog, as they'll learn to pay closer attention to your body language and  movements. Experiment with different hand signals and gestures to find what works best for you  and your dog.

Teach Your Dog the "Watch Me" Command 

Your verbal cues will be quite useless if your dog isn't paying attention to you in the first place.  Teaching a "Watch Me “or “Focus" command is an excellent tool for improving your dog's focus  on you. When given this command, your dog should stop what they're doing and look directly at  you, waiting for further instructions. This command is particularly useful in situations where you  need your dog's undivided attention, such as when crossing a busy street or navigating a  crowded area. 

To teach your dog the "Watch Me" command, start by holding a treat near your face and saying,  "Watch me" or "Focus." When your dog looks at you, reward them with a treat. Practice this  command regularly and gradually increase the duration. Your dog must maintain eye contact  before receiving a reward. Before you know it, your dog will be a pro at locking eyes with you on  command! 

As with any training, consistency is essential when teaching your dog the "Watch Me"  command. All members of your household should be using the same verbal cue and hand  signal to avoid confusing your dog.  

Learn More Useful Tips With OneMind Dogs 

Nobody likes to be ignored, but nobody likes getting shouted at, either. Understanding your  dog's perspective and keeping training sessions enjoyable and engaging are the base  components of garnering your dog's attention. 

Creating a bridge between the two helps build mutual respect and understanding –a great  foundation for any successful canine-human relationship! With time, patience, and practice, your  dog will be eager to listen and put into practice all the commands you have taught it. 

You can learn more tips like this through OneMind Dogs, which is a great online resource for  focusing on the connection with your dog and teaching them the basics of puppy life-skills and agility. Our platform is full of helpful tutorials, videos, and more that can help you get the most  out of basic training. Plus, our team of experienced instructors will be there to guide you every  step of the way so that your pup can become a model family member! MUCH more than just an  online training program — we will show you how to understand your dog’s perspective and form  lasting connections that will change your life with your dog. 

Get started today by signing up, downloading the OneMind app and connecting with our team.